7.1/10
12,195
55 user 128 critic

The Queen of Versailles (2012)

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2:32 | Trailer
A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.

Director:

Lauren Greenfield
8 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Lorraine Barrett Lorraine Barrett ... Herself - Real Estate Agent
June Downs June Downs ... Herself - Next Door Neighbor
Phillip Froehlich Phillip Froehlich ... Himself - Vice President, West Resorts
Marissa Gaspay Marissa Gaspay ... Herself - Nanny
Jonquil Jonquil ... Herself - Niece
Tina Martinez Tina Martinez ... Herself - High School Friend
Virginia Nebab Virginia Nebab ... Herself - Nanny
Wendy Ponce Wendy Ponce ... Herself - Housekeeper
David Siegel ... Himself
Jaqueline Siegel ... Herself (as Jackie Siegel)
Richard Siegel Richard Siegel ... Himself - Son
Victoria Siegel Victoria Siegel ... Herself - Daughter
Katie Stam Katie Stam ... Herself - Miss America
Terry Vaughn Terry Vaughn ... Himself - Westgate Employee
Cliff Wright Cliff Wright ... Himself - Limo Driver
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Storyline

In 2008, the Siegel family was top of the heap with the wealthy and politically influential David Siegel running the successful Westgate Resorts time-share business. To enjoy their good life, he and his engineer turned beauty queen trophy wife, Jackie, were building the largest single family private home in America. Suddenly, both the US economy and Westgate were rocked by the devastating sub-prime mortgage collapse. In the new economic reality with the business teetering on ruin, we follow the Siegels as they struggle to scale down their grotesquely ostentatious lifestyle. For this overprivileged family, accepting that situation proved a dispiriting struggle even as their unfinished dream home became a monument of their superficial values. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Netherlands | UK | Denmark

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

16 August 2014 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Rainha de Versalhes See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$51,326, 22 July 2012

Gross USA:

$2,401,999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,495,706
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lauren Greenfield first met Jaqueline Siegel in 2007 when she was doing a profile of Donatella Versace. Siegel was one of Versace's best customers. See more »

Quotes

Jaqueline Siegel: I've been up and down my entire life. I mean, I've been married before and I didn't have to worry about anything. I was making tons of money modeling; and then I was poor again. I've been a cocktail waitress. I mean, I even... in the nursing home I used to clean dead people and prepare them for the morgue.
[groans]
Jaqueline Siegel: For $3.35 an hour.
See more »

Connections

Featured in De Wereld Draait Door: Episode #8.67 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday
(uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
See more »

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User Reviews

An American Nightmare
7 August 2012 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

As taken as I was with the lessons in Margin Call, a story about a Lehman Bros.-like mortgage brokerage firm in the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, The Queen of Versailles is more powerful. And it's not about brokers—it's about a family that accepts all that cheap money, buys blindly, and declines maybe even more than the rest of us because it spends more than a small nation could. It's not an American dream; it's a nightmare.

At the beginning of this disturbing documentary, David Siegel owns Westgate Resorts, one of the world's largest timeshare companies. Worth billions, he spends those billions freely, aided by his clueless trophy wife, blonde and buxom beauty-contestant Jackie, who helps him plan the largest single-family home in the USA: 90,000 square feet of Versailles palace imitation—"kitsch" is perhaps the best descriptor.

Slowly director Lauren Greenfield lets the nice David talk about their fortune and the home. At the same time, Jackie has eight children, stating that without nannies she would never have that many. When the market tumbles, the Segals face not finishing their home and severely reducing their lifestyle, but not Jackie's spending or her nannies.

As in any good documentary, the players do all the heavy satirical lifting, in this case Jackie redefines white trash and the much older David clarifies the role men play who indulge their wives as long as they are hot and attentive. "Foolish old man" is an apt cliché for a decent guy who was smart enough to make billions, but not smart enough to avoid cheap money (which his timeshare sales staff sold in abundance itself to reckless, unsophisticated buyers—a sad irony for all involved) and a cheap wife.

As the documentary glides inexorably to its conclusion, we are left with the impression of a decent man who couldn't control his appetites and a Pollyanna wife who couldn't control her spending. Be warned, this is not Inside Job, an insightful documentary about how all of us contributed to the crash; it is rather a depressing insider look at how so many bought into the cheap money trap and could not get out.

My radio co-host and I had to take a half hour to detox from this misery before we could record our show in at least a minimal upbeat manner. The Queen of Versailles is unremittingly gloomy probably because a part of us all is hidden amongst that greed. And yet, it is in the best documentary tradition: truth will out.


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